By Israel Hayom/JNS.org
The national-religious rabbinical organization Tzohar is celebrating the 15th year of its Yom Kippur "Praying Together" program by hosting more than 55,000 Israelis in 280 sites around the country, including some prisons.
"We see the desire of thousands of Israelis who typically do not attend synagogue to take part in this most holy day," said Tzohar co-founder Rabbi David Stav. "We know that going to a religious shul can be daunting for someone who doesn't regularly attend or associate with that particular community. We strive to bring the holiness of the day to neutral place, such as community centers and event halls, to make it more inviting and accessible for everyone."
Participants are all provided with the same prayer book to make following the service easier, as well as with an explanatory pamphlet about the customs, prayers and meaning of Yom Kippur.
"This past summer, during Operation Protective Edge, we were blessed with a deep sense of national Jewish unity, reminiscent of the solidarity during the Six-Day War," Stav said. "The powerful prayer 'Ki Anu Amecha' ('For We Are Your Nation') is a beautiful and meaningful prayer of unity for all of the Jewish people. This year, in each of our 280 locations, this prayer will be sung to the tune of the Israeli national anthem, Hatikvah, to perpetuate this message of unity and togetherness for our people in Israel and around the world."
More than 350 Tzohar volunteers will take part in the program this year. And for the first time, several prayer services are being held for prison inmates.
Nachman Rosenberg, Tzohar's executive vice president, said, "The increasing popularity of our annual Yom Kippur program reflects an ever-growing thirst for Jewish tradition. This program is an integral component of Tzohar's commitment to ensure the Jewish future of the State of Israel for generations to come."